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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale - Great Lakes Brewery

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Pumpkin AleGreat Lakes Pumpkin Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

97 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 97
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 11
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
In our pursuit to bring you the most flavourful and unique beers possible, we are proud to release this tasty autumn ale. Handcrafted with an assortment of specialty malts and hops, we added a generous amount of pumpkin directly into the brew. Combine this with hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice, and you've got a beer that you won't soon forget. Rich, satisfying and slightly spicy, our seasonal ale goes perfectly with your favourite dessert or traditional feast. But like fall, Pumpkin Ale comes but once a year!

(Beer added by: Viggo on 09-29-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bryehn
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%

2011 edition, I really liked it last year before I joined BA.

Pours a hazy golden colour with copper tinges. Not much in the way of head but a thin and persistant ring. Very little lacing.

Sweet and spicy aroma with a raw pumpkin smell. Honey, cloves and nutmeg with a fresh, grainy backing. Milder than other pumpkin ales and than itself in years past.

Nice pumpkin taste with a roasted malt backing and a solid hop presence. A hefty amount of spice creates a bitterness and the finish is syrupy sweet.

Medium-bodied with a low carbonation. Bitter bite on the tongue and a dry, peppery aftertaste.

Lacks a certain punch. The spices outweigh the pumpkin by a long shot, but it's still a decent after dinner beer that goes well with vanilla ice cream.

bryehn, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of jrenihan
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Pours quite a light orange, with two finger widths of white head. Quite clear. Head fades to a small layer that stays quite well. Mild lacing.

Smell contains pumpkin, nutmeg and clove. Stronger on the spices than the pumpkin, but it is all there. A bit of a bready malt scent is present as well.

The flavour is much heavier on the spices than the pumpkin, even moreso than the nose. That being said, the pumpkin is obviously present. Some mild hop bitterness at the finish. A bit of a malty backbone throughout. Pretty good.

Medium bodied, a bit too much carbonation, but not bad. Pleasant but unremarkable.

Overall, an enjoyable beer but nothing to get too excited about. Nice to have if you are a fan of pumpkin ales.

jrenihan, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of eat
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%

Slightly cloudy body is a dark, pumpkin-like orange colour. The head dissipates to a very thin covering of off-white. No lacing. Nice colour for a pumpkin ale.

Faint pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove) and subtle, vegetal pumpkin, adding a certain creaminess. Caramel malt and light, spicy hops. Pretty weak on the nose.

Not much of the pumpkin or spices are coming through. It reminds me quite a bit of the taste letdown with their Miami Weiss; all the flavours here need to be amplified. Pretty much all I'm getting is a light malt character along with an earthy hop bitterness. Some grain on the finish. The spices are only present enough to make you wonder if they're even there at all. Everything here is much too far over to the cautious side of things. I wouldn't say it's too well balanced either; I could use more malt here. I'm thinking they missed the mark on this one. Not even close to enough pumpkin character.

I think I'd prefer the feel a little creamier but it's not too bad. Medium-high carbonation. More drying than you would expect at this level of bitterness.

It is drinkable. No off flavours and it does go down pretty easily in spite of it's boringness. The only thing holding it back is the drying finish, it's a little too much. If the bottle didn't say Pumpkin Ale, I'm not sure if I would think it was one. I know that pumpkin pie spice isn't something you want to overdo in a beer but for my taste the spices are way underdone. Glad I only picked up one of these, I won't be buying it again.

eat, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of hopsolutely
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%

A much lighter looking and tasting beer than any other pumpkin ale I've enjoyed in North America. Very refreshing and without the cloying malty sweetness found in some harvest ales. Pleasantly spicy aroma followed by a well balanced taste - notes of vanilla and pumpkin and many other spices. Well balanced with a nice dry finish.

Have enjoyed this beer in cask, draught and bottle form - and (unusually) the bottle is my favourite. It is light and refreshing, but somewhat limited in flavour complexity.

hopsolutely, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of tbeckett
3.05/5  rDev -13.6%

A - Pours bright. Orange to dark golden in colour with no head and mild carbonation.

S - Spices. Lot's of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice. There is a little pumpkin too but the spices dominate for the most part.

T - Spices dominate again. Mild pumpkin with lingering baking spice.

M - Light with little carbonation.

D - Good but not my thing. Too much spice, not enough pumpkin for a pumpkin beer.

tbeckett, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of MattyV
3.33/5  rDev -5.7%

A - Deep-gold colour with a fluffy white head that shrinks down to a thin cap. Not much lacing.

S - Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves mostly, as well as some biscuity malt. Overall, pretty dull.

T - Bready/biscuity malt with a slightly fruity character, the spice is there but not overpowering, the hops provide floral notes and lead to a crisp lightly bitter finish.

M - Light-bodied, pretty highly carbonated.

D - The flavour doesn't blow you away with intensity, but its still relatively complex and nicely balanced. Not my favourite pumpkin beer of the season, but probably one of Great Lakes' best offerings at the LC

MattyV, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of mdaschaf
2.9/5  rDev -17.8%

Thanks to korguy123 for this one! Poured from a bomber into an Evolution pint glass

A: Pours a clear light orange, lighter than others in this style I have had. Nice one finger head that dissolves into a layer of white bubbles on top of the beer. No lacing.

S: I get some of the typical spices here, but relatively weak. Also get a hint of alcohol.

T:Not much, a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of spice. Dry finish.

M/D: Thinner than expected. Overall not great, on of the weakest pumpkins I have had so far. A pass.

mdaschaf, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of JohnnyBarman
2.6/5  rDev -26.3%

Had this as part of a Pumpkin Ale tasting event. Poured into a nonic glass.

Light copper-golden, a thin, foamy head that recedes after a few moments. Some visible carbonbation.

Nose is pretty dull - pale malts, light hops, only a faint nutmeg, pumpkin scent that I could barely detect - others with me could not.

For a beer that markets itself as a pumpkin ale, where exactly is the pumpkin??? Unlike the noble jack o lantern, which features prominently on your front step or in your window, the pumpkin here chooses instead to hide in the back, only making rare visits as the beer warms up. The spicy flavor is not all that enjoyable either - more tinny and artificial. If this were a well made pale ale with subtle pumpkin notes, this could be excused, but sadly, it is not. Truth be told, I had trouble finishing it.

Mouthfeel is thin, carbonation provides a light sting.

I had been warned about this brew by a few friends, but I thought I'd give it a go, despite having developed a mistrust of Great Lakes LCBO offerings. Comparing this brew to others of the style, and it's not even close.

Poor effort, won't pick up again.

JohnnyBarman, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of kjyost
3.18/5  rDev -9.9%

It is smack between Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en, and lo and behold, a pumpkin beer at LC. Who would thunk it? May as well give this style a shot...

A: Nothing special here. An amber brew, clear as day, with a fizzy white head that recedes and does not lace. May as well be a pale ale...

S: Intriguing. Light cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of pumpkin underneath it all. Some sweetness later comes into play.

T: Served around 6-8C, and the beer can be best described as muted. Low malt character, no real breadiness in the beer. The spices are there, but just barely. If the body matched the nose it would be better. Too light on every aspect of the taste. Later in a few mouthfuls I think "yup, there's the pumpkin" but by that time I am getting a nasty lingering aftertaste...

(EDIT: Interestingly I left a glass out for 1 hour and it really came around giving a strong taste of roasted pumpkin, but the aftertaste still lingered)

M/D: Easy drinking, actually quite crisp and finishes dry. Could easily have been a poorly made pale ale save the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that sometimes come about.

kjyost, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured in to a brandy snifter

A - Orage/yellow colour; very light for a pumpkin beer. Small amount of thin white head.

S - Some warm spices up front - specifically cinnamon & nutmeg, along with a nice pumpkin flavour.

T - A nice spice flavour of cinnamon and nutmeg come through initially with a nice pumpkin backbone providing the base for this ale. Somewhat light compared to other pumpkin beers but very enjoyable nonetheless.

M - Light body, lightly carbonated.

D - A nice pumpkin beer. Only complaint is the overly light body.

TheSevenDuffs, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of SuperSnake
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%

I really liked this beer.
Appearance:
Pours deep orange with a carbonated foamy head that settles to a light cap on the top of the beer.

Smell:
light cinnamon spicy smell close to a light pumpkin pie smell.

Taste:
About the same as the smell more spicy with the slightest pumpkin flavor

Mouthfeel:
very smooth and lightly carbonated

Drinkability:
Only 5.5% so very seasonable and would love to do so

SuperSnake, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of korguy123
3.05/5  rDev -13.6%

Bomber into DFH Signature Glass.
Part of the Halloween release at the LCBO.

A- Clear rich amber pour, Carbonation is surprisingly light. Two finger white head, lacing is good.

S- Pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. All smells are quite subtle and muted. Very bland as far as pumpkin beers go.

T- Spices and pumpkin almost non-existent. Brown sugar, vanilla with a slight bitter aftertaste.

M- Thin feeling slight carbonation bite.

D- Good, but one bomber is enough for me.

Overall little disappointed in this one. Was expecting more of a pumpkin smell and taste from this one. First year for pumpkin beers, and first year for this one and I have to say this is the weakest out of all the ones I've tried so far.

korguy123, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of heebes
3.2/5  rDev -9.3%

Welcoming in the fall season.
Pours a light gold colour, some head which dissipates quickly. Good amount of carbonation.
The nose is strong, I could smell the beer upon opening. A spice aroma is dominant. Cinnamon and pumpkin also present.
The taste is a little weak, tasting more like an ale than any sort of major flavoured specialty beer. It's a bit sour to begin with the light pumpkin and spice flavour lingering.
Again, light mouthfeel. Watery texture, a little underwealming.
Overall this is a rather average take on the pumpkin ale. I would have preferred a more flavourful and upfront spice taste. For whats available at this point in ON though, it's a great change of pace!

heebes, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of kwjd
4.2/5  rDev +19%

Yay for pumpkin beer season! I have been waiting for 10 months for pumpkin beers to come back. It is a shame that we don't just assign another month, say April, to be the mid-year pumpkin month so at least it would be twice a year. Anyways, on with the review...

Pours a deep golden orange with thick white head. As the head dissipates, still leaves a small ring on the top of the beer with spotty lacing around the glass. Smells of beautiful pumpkin pie - nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and other assorted spices. Some hops and bread malt too Flavour has mild bitterness with sweet pumpkin pie. This is my favourite of the Great Lakes seasonals.

kwjd, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of Luk13
2.55/5  rDev -27.8%

Bottle. Pale orange pour with thin white head. Good spicy aroma, cloves, cinnamon and definite pumpkin aromas. Taste is rather mild, still some candycane, spice and a very earthy kind of bitter finale. Watery mouthfeel. Not a fan of pumkins and rather hard to drink.

Luk13, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%

It pours a clear amber / deep honey colour. Lots of head which dimples and drops at a medium pace, leaving some lacing.

It has a sweet smell, similar to some raspberry wheat ales I've had. A bit of the cinnamon or clove also comes out.

Pretty good taste - a bit of that sharpness or sweetness that I get from some fruit ales or beers with yeast still in the bottle. At first, it tastes like a fairly normal ale, perhaps a bit too fruity for my liking. The middle part of each sip is where the pumpkin comes out, but it's more raw pumpkin / "warmed-up Jack-o-lantern" than it is pumpkin pie, which I expected / was hoping for. The end of each sip, and afterwards, is when the spice comes out. It's the best part of each taste.

It feels OK in the mouth... not too watery; fizzy. But not overly.

As for drinkability, it's alright. One 650ml bottle is enough.

PEIBeerGuy, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of NightINgale
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%

A - Clear light amber/gold body with a nice fluffy light-tan head. Nice head retention and impressive lacing. Moderate carbonation.

S - Not a very strong smell overall. Floral, with a nice pumpkin base and a fair amount of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove). Some caramel notes.

T - I could definitely taste the pumpkin right away, followed by a moderate spiciness and a touch of caramel. Some floral hop bitterness was also present. The taste finished in a fair amount of spice notes, as well as some bitterness and light sweetness. As it warmed up, I started tasting more peppery notes from the allspice. The pumpkin taste was also getting stronger with time.

M - Light-to-medium bodied. The carbonation makes the beer crisp.

D - Not bad at all. This is not the most drinkable pumpkin beer, though.

NightINgale, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%

This is great lakes fall seasonal offering I've had it a few times but never reviewed it, so here we go.

It pours a clear golden orange much akin to honey, with a thin white head atop.

Aromas of pumpkin (surprised surprise) and grassy wheat first hit the nose. Bread and honey/corn syrup notes make a showing along with hints of clove. There is an underlying scent of wet leaves which seems a tad strange.

Hop bitterness is the first flavour to strike the taste, quickly followed by some malt sweetness and what can be best described as dry crackers. The bite of cinnamon and clove can be detected in the aftertaste. Additionally some subtle pumpkin flavours pop up but it adds much more to the body then the actual taste. As with most pumpkin beers there is a fine mouth feel gently coating the tongue providing a smooth slightly viscous sensation.

This is a decent pumpkin beer, tasty and easy drinking, with the characteristic fine body.

Reinheitsgebot71, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of mrmanning
3.63/5  rDev +2.8%

Bottle LCBO tasting- Pours transparent orange with an off white cap of froth. Lots of spices in the aroma. Ginger and cinnamon pack the first punch, and nutmeg is the runner up. There's some bready doughy aromas as well. Mild burnt malts. No real pumpkin aroma, but that's ok, it's nice. Very delicate spiced flavour, ginger and corriander, nutmeg, cinnamon with some mild rosemary and bitter hops. Mild tongue tingle in the finish, lots of spices and bitterness.
Good.

mrmanning, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of Seanstoppable
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%

Dropped off recently by friends from Ontario. They got to sample the local pumpkin ale, I got to try this one in exchange.

Opening the bottle results in an outpour of foam. Pouring into the glass results in a slightly hazy muted orange color with 3 fingers of white head. Head slowly evaporates and is still a full finger after a few minutes. Plenty of lacing left down the glass.

No real pumpkin scent There is some faint touches of nutmeg and cinnamon though.

Very faint pumpkin taste. Nutmeg and cinnamon are still apparent, though not strong. A bit of a malt taste in the back. Very mild overall. Some of the spice lingers in your mouth a while.

For something labeled as "a beer that you won't soon forget" I am actually somewhat disappointed with the flavor. More of a mild ale with some pumpkin and spice rather than a flavorful pumpkin ale.

Overall it is pretty smooth and not bad, but it isn't what I would expect from a pumpkin ale.

Seanstoppable, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of TheHammer
3.43/5  rDev -2.8%

Happy Halloween everybody, to get into the spirit of things I decided to try out my first pumpkin ale, and given this was the only one I could find at the LCBO, Great Lakes won this one by default.

Appearance: Unsurprisingly orange but surprisingly clear body that boast solid carbonation. The head sustained well enough, but the single finger of it and lack of lacing leaves something to be desired.

Smell: A lot milder and spicer then I expected it to be, as nutmeg, clove and cinnamon dominate the nose, but you can still catch the pumpkin and a very subdued malt and hop smell in the background. It could be a little bit stronger, but other then that, no complaints.

Taste: I dunno, I normally like a beer with balance but this one I think would have been better served had it been more on the sweeter side. Starts with a fairly watered down malt with some light spicing and then the spicing kicks into overdrive the exact same time the hops kick which isn't the greatest but it does end with a nice cinnamon and pumpkin taste which scores it some more points.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation seems a bit too excessive, and comes forward at the wrong place, which also hurts it's transistioning. However a pleasant pumpkin pie aftertaste that does overstay it's welcome makes up for that.

Drinkability: The harsh bite of bitterness and carbonation stops this beer from being as smooth as it could be. Speaking of carbonation, this one will leave you belching quite a bit. Refreshing and not excessively sweet, but as I said earlier, I feel I would have been better served had it been sweeter.

Final Thoughts: The best way I can describe this beer is seasonal for a reason, and it's not because you can't grow pumpkins year round. I'm sure many would disagree with me, and normally even I would but this pumpkin ale has a bit too much ale and not enough pumpkin. Still, it is a well balanced beer and I think it is worth a try. Maybe next year a different, perhaps sweeter offering will be available.

TheHammer, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of ecoastman
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%

I'm very surprised about this beer and could easily drink a few of these festive brews. I was intentionally ignoring this beer until the store clerk talked me into trying one. I'm glad she did because this is an easy winner for Christmas too. I'll try to grab a few more for the season.

The appearance is nice with an orange golden colour and very slight haze. The head has decent retention and some nice lacing through the drink.

Being my first pumpkin ale I didn't expect much but the aroma is quite nice and mild. The expected pumpkin pie spices (nutmeg/clove/cinnamon) are nicely balanced with a bready backing.

The taste is not overpowering and has a great lingering aftertaste of the spices. Some may complain that the beer is too mild but the level of intensity makes this a great festive session-drinking beer.

The mouthfeel is refreshing while still creamy smooth. No courseness and good carbonation. A tiny bit sticky in the finish but I guess that comes with the pumpkin territory...great stuff.

ecoastman, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev +13.3%

650ml bottle poured into wheat beer glass oct14 2009

A clear golden orange with lots of big bubbles, a decent off white head with a few minuets worth of retention and lace while it lasted

S I like how I still get what I expect from a pumpkin ale things like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon but it still has the malt and hops you don't get with a lot of pumpkin ales.

T again not overpowering with the spices and pumpkin, I liked this one not as sweet as most pumpkin ales. I like this one its pretty well rounded, lots of flavors but a good amount of each

M its got a little bite going on and it helps its cause, good carbonation helps it out as well

D this is a pretty easy drinking beer on a day like this watching the snow fall outside

tastes more like beer then a lot of pumpkin ales I liked it more then most
thanks to wittaker for this one

wordemupg, Oct 14, 2009
Photo of ritzkiss
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%

22oz from the LCBO. Pours a rather lightish (for a pumpkin ale) golden orange, almost IPA like with just a slight orange hue. Light head with little retention, though plenty of carb here.

Nose is nicely spiced, nutmeg being the primary one coming through. Also hints of cinnamon, all spice, behind that some fresh pumpkin.

Taste is pretty light, not as much going on here as I was hoping for this chilly, rainy evening. Nice malt base, light pumpkin additions and light spicing in the finish, hard to distinguish individual spices there (but certainly some cinnamon and nutmeg). Pretty heavy carb and I would prefer it toned down a notch to make it seem a little smoother.

A little smoother, a little richer, little more defined - those would be on my wish list for this beer. Not a bad beer by any means, drinkable for sure. Just not super.

ritzkiss, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of MeisterBurger
3.05/5  rDev -13.6%

It's nitpicking, I'll admit, but I think the orange foil on the cap has the opposite effect of that intended. It doesn't elevate it or add a modicum of elegance, it makes it seem like it's trying to be something it's not. This has a cheesy font and retarded looking baby-faced jack-o'-lantern on it for crying out loud. It'll take more than a bit of tin foil to make that look classy.

Pours a clear, orange-hued golden color with a decent amount of head, a decent amount of retention, and the same could be said about the lacing. Decent. It looks a lot like their Orange Peel Ale, from what I recall.

It smells like faint malt and hops and faint pumpkin pie spice. Very grassy. It has that new carved pumpkin smell.

The taste is about the same, with a very generic, slightly grainy ale with a grassy hop up against a melange of pumpkin pie spices--nutmeg and clove chief amongst them. It's...tangy. The finish has a slightly unpleasant vegetable aspect to it, likely from the pumpkin?

My chief complaint with this beer is the lack of malt sweetness which I think would offset all of the spice and grassiness better. With a sweeter malt, a pinch more spice, and a higher ABV this could be a decadent cold weather warmer. As it is I find myself wanting. Really. Go big or go home. As it is it's an okayish slightly pumpkiny ale almost more suitable for warm weather.

The mouthfeel is kind of thin and lacking.

Conclusion: Needs more malt.

MeisterBurger, Sep 25, 2009
Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.